ExpandFibre Ecosystem welcomes SuperBark CBE JU project

ExpandFibre Ecosystem welcomes SuperBark CBE JU project

Projects 30.04.2024

The SuperBark CBE JU project, started in September 2023 and coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, explores components in softwood bark to develop new bio-based adhesives and coatings for a range of industrial applications. Senior scientist and Project manager Marc Borrega from VTT sheds more light on this four-year project.

Marc Borrega, who is the SuperBark project coordinator at VTT, explains that adhesives and coatings are an integral part of consumer products, butmost adhesives and coatings currently on the market are produced using fossil-based and harmful chemicals. This conflicts with the EU-level goals of protecting the health and well-being of citizens and the environment and therefore SuperBark, a research and innovation project consortium funded by the EU, has been set to redefine the sustainability and safety of wood-based adhesives and coatings.

SuperBark aims to develop safe, sustainable, and high-performance adhesives and coatings from industrial softwood bark – pine and spruce – that are major side streams from the forest industry. Bark-based polyphenols and cellulose nanofibers are used to develop the new adhesive and coating formulations that will be applied in industries such as furniture, construction, transport, and packaging. This helps to eliminate formaldehyde-based resins and other harmful fossil-based substances used in conventional adhesives and coatings in everyday consumer products.

Utilization of all parts of the tree is at the core of this project, reflecting on the intensified global interest in the efficient use of the waste streams in the forest industry. Bark is still an underutilized part of the forest-based side streams, and this is what the project is now exploring. The project, which was launched in September 2023, has already isolated the first bark-based components, and started the core of its work, namely the research and development of more sustainable coatings and adhesives.

For its first full year of operation in 2024, the SuperBark consortium has plans for continuing the project’s planned biannual consortium meetings and workshops facilitating the work ahead, that were kicked off with the successful first meetings in Finland and Austria. According to Marc, the first results from the project partners working with the formulations for adhesives and coatings could be expected later this year.

SuperBark consortium got interested in the ExpandFibre Ecosystem when Programme Manager Katariina Kemppainen from Metsä Group introduced the Ecosystem at SuperBark’s consortium meeting in Vienna, Austria, in March 2024.  Marc Borrega, alongside the whole SuperBark consortium, is looking forward to learning more about the ExpandFibre Ecosystem and connecting with other members potentially also working with sustainable wood-based alternatives for adhesives and coatings.

The SuperBark project consortium consists of 12 partners from eight European countries. The partner organisations include four industrial partners, six research and technology organisations, one university, and one small and medium size enterprise. The project is funded by the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBU JU), and it will run until August 2027.

The SuperBark partners are as follows:

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd (VTT), Finland (coordinator); Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (FHG), Germany; Riga Technical University’s Institute of Energy Systems and Environment (RTU), Latvia; Holzforschung Austria – Österreichische Gesellschaft für Holzforschung (HFA), Austria; Luxembourg Institute of Science & Technology (LIST), Luxembourg; Inštitut za celulozo in papir (ICP), Slovenia; Fundacion Tecnalia Research & Innovation (Tecnalia), Spain; CLIC Innovation Oy (CLIC), Finland; ADLER-Werk Lackfabrik Johann Berghofer GmbH & Co KG (Adler), Austria; Metsä Wood (Metsä), Finland; Goričane, tovarna papirja Medvode (Goricane), Slovenia; Kastamonu Entegre Ağaç Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. (KEAS), Türkiye.

More information: www.superbark.eu